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Title: SOLIDS PRECIPITATION EVENT IN MCU CAUSAL ANALYSIS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FROM SOLIDS RECOVERY TEAM

A process upset occurred in the Modular Caustic-Side Solvent Extraction Unit (MCU) facility on April 6th, 2014. During recovery efforts, a significant amount of solids were found in the Salt Solution Feed Tank (SSFT), Salt Solution Receipt Tanks (SSRTs), two extraction contactors, and scrub contactors. The solids were identified by Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) as primarily sodium oxalate and sodium alumina silicate (NAS) with the presence of some aluminum hydroxide. NAS solids have been present in the SSFT since simulant runs during cold chemical startup of MCU in 2007, and have not hindered operations since that time. During the process upset in April 2014, the oxalate solids partially blocked the aqueous outlet of the extraction contactors, causing salt solution to exit through the contactor organic outlet to the scrub contactors with the organic phase. This salt solution overwhelmed the scrub contactors and passed with the organic phase to the strip section of MCU. The partially reversed flow of salt solution resulted in a Strip Effluent (SE) stream that was high in Isopar™ L, pH and sodium. The primary cause of the excessive solids accumulation in the SSRTs and SSFT at MCU is attributed to an increase in the frequencymore » of oxalic acid cleaning of the 512-S primary filter. Agitation in the SSRTs at MCU in response to cold weather likely provided the primary mechanism to transfer the solids to the contactors. Sources of the sodium oxalate solids are attributed to the oxalic acid cleaning solution used to clean the primary filter at the Actinide Removal Process (ARP) filtration at 512-S, as well as precipitation from the salt batch feed, which is at or near oxalate saturation. The Solids Recovery Team was formed to determine the cause of the solids formation and develop recommendations to prevent or mitigate this event in the future. A total of 53 recommendations were generated. These recommendations were organized into 4 focus areas: • Improve understanding of oxalate equilibrium and kinetics in salt solutions • Reduction/elimination of oxalic acid cleaning in 512-S • Flowsheet optimization • Improving diagnostic capability The recommendations implemented prior to resumption of MCU operations provide a risk mitigation or detection function through additional sampling and observation. The longer term recommendations provide a framework to increase the basic process knowledge of both oxalate chemistry and filtration behavior and then facilitate decisions that improve the salt flowsheet as a system.« less
Authors:
;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1165023
Report Number(s):
X-ESR-G-00041
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC09-08SR22470
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
SRS
Sponsoring Org:
DOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES